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Shashi Tharoor rakes up ‘Hindutva Taliban’ issue again

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An award winning Malayalam short-story writer from Kerala has withdrawn his novel being serialised in a weekly after he allegedly received threats from right-wing groups.

Congress leader and Thiruvanathapuram MP Shashi Tharoor reacted strongly to the incident, saying the incident could be a lesson on his warnings about the emergence of a “Hindutva Taliban”.

“Those who do not believe my warnings about the emergence of a Hindutva Taliban might learn from what has just happened to Malayalam writer Hareesh (& even more chilling, the threat to chop off his hands, Taliban-style)” Mr Tharoor wrote on Twitter

S Hareesh’s first novel ‘Meesha’, meaning moustache, was being published as a series in the ‘Mathrubhumi’ weekly. ‘Meesha’ is themed around the lives of Dalits decades ago in India.

Kamalram Sajeev, the editor of the weekly, tweeted on Saturday that the writer had pulled out the novel. “Literature is being mob lynched, darkest day in Kerala’s cultural history, lightless days to follow,” he added.

“Hareesh mailed me today to say he is withdrawing from publishing his novel as a series from us. With the initial series, he has been facing severe cyber threats , and his wife, two children and even his mother have been under cyber attack”, Kamalram Sajeev told NDTV.

The cyber threats allegedly began when, according to Mr Sajeev, right wing activists began objecting to a conversation in his story between two men discussing why women dress up to look beautiful while going to the temple.

“It’s very obvious that the attack is from right wing activists. A writer cannot be targetted for a character or conversation he creates in his novel”, Kamalram Sajeev said.

A Kerala Sahithya Academy award winner, S Hareesh’s well-known works included a collection of short stories, ‘Aadam’, and ‘Rasavidyayude Charithram’.